The murder of 15-year-old Seath Jackson

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15-year-old Seath

On April 18, 2011, 15-year-old Seath Jackson was reported missing by his parents. Seath was born in January of 1996 to Sonia & Scott Jackson & he had two brothers. He was described as kindhearted; he dreamed of becoming a UFC fighter, loved to spend time with friends & family, he was an animal lover & enjoyed four-wheeling with his family. He lived in Summerfield, Florida, 65 miles northeast of Orlando or 15 miles northeast of Ocala; Seath was a typical teenager who was popular amongst his friends.

In December of 2010, Seath was a sophomore in high school when he started dating 15-year-old Amber Wright & their relationship ended in March of 2011. Seath’s parents weren’t very impressed with Amber; they initially thought that she was nice though they began to see that she was a very manipulative person. As short lived as their relationship was, it was also toxic. In an episode with Piers Morgan, Amber indicated that their relationship revolved around smoking weed, doing cocaine & having sex. They often tried to make each other jealous. 

In early March of 2011, Seath wrote on his Facebook wall, “love you Amber” but by April 7, his tone had changed & he was calling her a “slut.” Their public Facebook battle began on April 8th with Amber writing on Seath’s page, “I got so tired of you treating me like I was nothing. If you’re so perfect, why don’t you get over your jealousy & get a new girl you can hurt.. You know I cared deeply about you. I stuck with you through a lot of stuff.. It takes a real man to accept the fact he got broken up with.” 

Seath responded, “We both need to just let all of this go. Yeah we split, yeah it hurt, but I’m over it. I’m just not going to let Mike have his cake & eat it too.” It was around this time that their relationship ended due to infidelity when Amber began dating 18-year-old Michael Bargo. Amber lied & told Michael that Seath was abusive to her during their relationship.

Amber Wright & Michael Bargo

There were also issues between Seath & Amber’s step-brother, Kyle Hooper. The two had been friends though their relationship deteriorated after Seath & Amber broke up & only worsened when Kyle found Seath in bed with a girl named Alyssa, who Kyle was interested in. One week before Seath went missing, Kyle sent Alyssa a text message saying that he was going to kill Seath.

Two to three weeks before Seath went missing, he & Michael had a run in with each other at Amber’s house & threats were exchanged. One week before his disappearance, Michael went to Seath’s house & began another argument; this is when Seath’s mom, Sonia, heard Michael threaten, “I have a bullet with your name on it.” Michael & Kyle also contacted Seath & his friend William Samalot & challenged them to a fight.

During this timeframe, a girl named Charlie Ely allowed some of her friends, including Michael Bargo, to move into her two-bedroom house in Summerfield. Michael owned a .22 caliber Heritage revolver which he kept in Charlie’s house, often firing the gun on her property. Seath & William agreed to the fight & arrived at Charlie’s property though the two fled when they heard a gunshot. Michael admitted to shooting the gun in their direction, “to scare them a little bit off.” At the time of Seath’s disappearance, 18-year-old Charlie’s home included herself, 18-year-old Michael, 16-year-old Kyle & another, 20-year-old Justin Soto; Amber would stay overnight occasionally, bringing the foursome to five. 

On April 17, 2011, the day before Seath was reported missing, he got a text from Amber, saying that she wanted to talk to him about getting back together. He agreed & texted back, “Amber if you have me jumped, I will never give you the time of day, so if I get jumped say goodbye, alright.” Amber responded, “I could never do that to you, I just want me & you back.”

Little did Seath know, Kyle & Michael were forming a plan to murder him. Earlier that day, Michael asked Amber to text Seath, luring him to Charlie’s home. When he arrived, Amber would bring him into the house & Michael, Kyle & Justin would attack him as he entered. They planned that Justin would hit him with a wooden object & then Michael & Kyle would jump him from behind & then Michael would shoot Seath.

Earlier that evening, William & Seath went to hang out with some neighborhood friends & William noticed that Seath was texting Amber. Amber wrote that Seath shouldn’t tell anyone about their plan to meet & reconcile. When Amber called Seath, William urged him not to talk to her. The two left their friend’s house about 9pm & parted ways at 9:15pm. That was the last time William saw his friend alive. 

From here, Seath headed to Charlie’s house & she & Amber met him outside, the three walking inside together. Once inside, the plan began, just as the boys indented; Seath sat down in a chair in the living room & Kyle came running into the room, holding a wooden object & delivered a blow to Seath’s head. During this time, Charlie & Amber ran into Charlie’s room. Michael began to shoot at Seath & hit him once though he managed to escape the home, running through the kitchen & out the front door. When Seath reached the front yard, Justin tackled him & Michael shot him a second time. Michael & Justin began to beat Seath & with Michael’s urging, Kyle also joined in.  The three then brought Seath back into the house & placed him in the bathtub. 

Michael stayed in the bathroom with Seath, hitting him, swearing at him & firing more bullets, ultimately killing Seath with a bullet wound to the face. Micheal then suggested they break Seath’s kneecaps with a baseball bat in order to fit his body into a sleeping bag. They placed his body, wrapped in the sleeping bag, in a fire pit in the backyard. That night, the group of five sat around the fire, Seath’s body burning & treated the night as a festive event, drinking & celebrating through the night. 

The next morning, April 18, 2011, James Havens, Amber & Kyle’s stepdad, arrived at Charlie’s house to help dispose of Seath’s remains. Meanwhile, the inside of the home was cleaned with bleach. The remains from the firepit were placed in three paint buckets with lids that Michael & Justin placed in the back of James’ truck, along with cinder blocks & a cable. Amber claimed that while this was happening, she & Charlie were sleeping in Charlie’s room until 11-12pm. James drove his truck with Michael & Justin as passengers & followed Michael’s directions, driving to a remote, water filled rock quarry in Ocala, FL where they dumped the buckets, weighed down with cinder blocks. 

Later that afternoon, James & Michael picked Kyle up from work; during the drive, they received a call from Tracey, Amber & Kyle’s mom, letting them know that police were in the neighborhood, investigating Seath’s disappearance. When Seath failed to come home or respond to his parent’s calls & texts, they immediately felt something was wrong as Seath always informed them of his whereabouts so they called the police & reported him missing.

Michael asked to borrow money from Kyle, saying that he planned to leave town. James drove Michael back to Ocala so he could meet up with an out-of-town girlfriend, Kristen Williams. During their visit, he told her that he & some friends had gotten into a fight with a kid, he had shot him, they had “taken him apart”, burned him & placed his remains in a rock quarry near her home. From here, James drove Michael to Kristen’s father’s home in Starke, FL. Here, he told James Williams Jr, Kristen’s brother, that he had shot a boy eight times with a .22 pistol & killed him. He also told him that he broke his knee caps, placed him in the sleeping bag & burned him, also detailing where he placed the remains. 

Michael told Crystal Anderson, James Williams Sr’s girlfriend that he killed a guy that raped his little sister. He described how he beat him, chased him outside, shot him & placed him in the bathtub. He described that because all the remains had not burned completely, he used pliers to remove the remaining teeth from the skull, one by one. He also told the story to Joshua Padgett, a neighbor of the Williamses.  Police arrived at the Williamses’ home on April 19, 2011 & took Michael into custody. Before being taken in, Michael destroyed his cell phone. The others involved, including James Haven, were arrested two days after the murder. 

While in his cell, shortly after his arrest, he told his cellmate about the details of how he killed a kid who raped his girlfriend; he told him that he accidentally burned his own face while disposing the body. A corrections officer, David Smith, overheard him tell another inmate that “there were only two witnesses that saw me shoot him.” 

During the investigations, warrants were issued to search the room Michael had in his grandmother’s house, Charlie’s house & the rock quarry. In the room of his grandma’s house, they found a Heritage gun box & a spent .22 caliber cartridge. In Charlie’s house, they found a loaded .22 Heritage revolver & two boxes of live ammunition hidden inside a floor vent. .22 caliber casings were found in several rooms throughout the house. Outside, they found dried paint on the ground, a rake with dried paint on the tines, drag marks, a pressure washer & a fire pit containing possible human remains. In the Ocala quarry, they located a five-gallon bucket floating & two attached to cinder blocks underwater. 

A DNA expert concluded that the remains from the quarry matched the remains from the firepit & that they belonged to Seath Jackson. Blood evidence was found by crime scene investigators on the bathroom/kitchen/living room floors & on the bathroom & kitchen ceilings in Charlie’s house. DNA evidence couldn’t be obtained from the blood on the bathroom & kitchen floor though Charlie’s DNA was found in a mixture of blood found on the bathroom wall. Kyle & Seath’s DNA was found from the blood on the living room floor & Michael’s was found on the kitchen ceiling. 

Clockwise: Justin Soto, Kyle Hooper, Charlie Ely, James Havens, Michael Bargo, Amber Wright

A firearm’s expert concluded that Michael’s revolver couldn’t be excluded as the murder weapon. A medical examiner concluded that he observed blood spatter consistent with a projectile or bullet impact in an x-ray of  a skull fragment found from Seath’s remains which was consistent with a gunshot wound to the head or face. It was concluded that Seath’s cause of death was a gunshot wound & blunt force trauma. 

Michael testified that he took no part in Seath’s murder & only the disposal of his remains. He accused Kyle of stealing his revolver after they argued on the night of the murder. He said that during his fight against Kyle & Justin, his nose was broken, he got black eyes & a busted lip. He said that after this, he showered, drank beer, looked for his gun & left to see a girlfriend. 

Michael claimed that at 9pm that night, he began walking in the direction of his girlfriend’s house, going slowly because of a recent knee injury. He said after two hours of walking, stopping to roll two joints & vomiting, he gave up & said that his dad picked him up & took him back to Charlie’s house. According to his story, when he arrived, Charlie was scrubbing the floor with bleach & Amber was drinking & crying. He said he went to his room & saw Justin, who said he had his gun but refused to return it until he talked to Kyle. He said this is when Kyle told him that he shot & killed Seath with his gun. Michael said he suggested they call the police & Kyle threatened to pin the murder on him. 

During the trial, Kyle testified that on the day of the murder, Michael suggested to him that they kill Seath after Amber lured him to the house; he said that he witnessed Michael shoot & beat Seath. James Havens testified that he overheard Michael & the others involved, discuss killing someone & on the night of  the murder, Michael called him & told him, “the deed is done.” On the night of the murder, a neighbor from two houses away, witnessed two or three males chase & beat a kid with their fists in Charlie’s yard & then bring him inside the home at approximately 9:30pm. He testified that he didn’t hear gunshots though heard “doors & stuff” and someone yell, “get him!”

It was reported that Michael suffered from frontal lobe brain damage, bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder, complex partial seizure disorder, hallucinations with diminished control over inhibitions, was abandoned by his father, grew up in a disadvantaged & abusive home & by age fourteen or fifteen, he began to self harm & while in ninth grade, a psychologist suggested he be sent to a mental institute. Instead, he was sent to boot camp for six months where he also received counseling. He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in March of 2009 though was not taking any prescribed medications at the time of the murder. The jury found Michael guilty of first-degree murder with a firearm & recommended that he be sentenced to death by a vote of ten to two. 

Despite some of the suspects being juveniles, each was tried as an adult. Amber Wright, Kyle Hooper, Charlie Ely & Justin Soto were tried separately; in June of 2012, Amber & Kyle were found guilty of first-degree murder. Amber appeared for a re-trial in early 2016 which ended with the same verdict & she was sentenced to life in prison. James Havens received a ten-year sentence for accessory to murder.  Charlie & Justin also received life sentences though Charlie’s conviction was vacated in 2020 & she was released from prison. 

Charlie’s attorney, Jose Baez feels that though she is happy to be free, she has nothing to celebrate as she feels terrible for the Jackson family. Baez reported that this case was a perfect example of the importance of being careful of who you surround yourself with. He felt that her only crime was being present at the time of the murder, saying that she had no role in the murder or the cleanup. She claimed that the boys threatened to kill her if she didn’t go along with the plan & pointed a gun in her face; she had only met Seath twice before his murder. 

Judge Anthony Tatti, who resentenced Amber in 2016, said, “I have not seen or heard anything more despicable than what led to Seath Jackson’s death. I cannot imagine circumstances any worse, and I pray to my God that the reason behind this is some chemical imbalance or a brain that hasn’t matured. It’s really hard to deal with the notion that such an evil could exist without an explanation.”Seath’s mom, Sonia said, “It doesn’t take a fully developed mind to understand right from wrong. A two-year-old learns that hurting others is not acceptable in our society.”  She faced Amber & said, “We hope that guilt eats you inside and out knowing that you caused all this. You fed into Bargo’s deranged desires with your lies. All this happened because of you.” Many feel that yes, Michael was the ultimate killer, though it was Amber who was the absolute catalyst, the one who convinced Michael that Seath had beaten her, the one who texted him & lured him to his death.


  1. ABC News: Teen Triangle and Facebook Feud Lead to Murder of 15-year-old Florida Boy
  2. FindLaw: Bargo v. State
  3. TheCinemaholic: Seath Jackson Murder: Where is Amber Wright Now?
  4. FTF Media: A Twisted Love Triangle: The Death of Seath Jackson
  5. The Baez Law Firm: Charlie Ely Released From Custody After Having Murder Sentence Vacated
  6. Miami New Times: Charlie Ely, Suspect in Brutal Seath Jackson Murder, Says She Was Forced at Gunpoint to Participate
  7. The Gainesville Sun: Amber Wright sentenced to life in prison a second time for Summerfield murder

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